Light is the task when many share the toil quilting 2021

Vicki Serna
Special to the Plaindealer

A real and visual need arose on March 28, 1998. That was the year that a tornado wreaked havoc in the town of Comfrey. Before that time, some of us had been working with the mission quilting project at the Faith Lutheran Church, and that evening when citizens were routed to the Church basement for shelter and comfort … what should be available to them, but the mission quilts that had been prepared by that Church. It was an eye-opening visual to the comfort that a simple quilt can bring another human being.

Because of the devastation to the town, the Salvation Army came to ‘camp’ in the basement of the United Church of Christ for a period of nearly two years, passing out needed supplies, utensils, paint, and of course quilts that had come in from elsewhere. Preparations were made with our ladies to begin our own quilting project as a means of giving back for the kindnesses we received.

There were many willing hands in those early days, and we solicited help from the other congregations in town and out. Over the years, people from ten different congregations have joined in to help with quilt construction and distribution. So many gave of their talents as schedules allowed, that it would be amiss to try to mention them all. We averaged 40 quilts annually throughout those early years with a record high of 62 in 2011 and 2012. This year, 2021, marks the construction and distribution of 1000 quilts.

In those early days, we filled the church basement and sometimes had to resort to using the kitchen to accommodate everyone. Members of the congregations were given a quilt to commemorate their high school graduation as well as their weddings. Newborn babies also received a small version and the remaining went to missions. The Women’s Fellowship group began purchasing fiber fill at this time, so our quilts were not only attractive but functional during our cold weather winters.

Most of our quilts remain in this country, with some going to disaster areas elsewhere. In 2008 Watonwan County Human Services and St. Peter Treatment Center were new recipients. The next year we had three quilts that were hand-stitched and donated to Ten Thousand Villages in Mt. Lake, they were sold on silent auction and at the MCC sale in Sioux Falls, SD. Proceeds totaling $466 were forwarded to Mennonite Charities.

United Church of Christ ceased having regular services in 2011, but the quilting project continued with the Darfur Senior Citizens, agreeing to help … following their monthly ‘potluck’ meeting.

2015 was the last year of Church involvement as the account funding project supplies had been depleted. Enter Thrivent Financial Group with their Community Action Program. For the past six years, they have been funding our projects. Without them we would not have been able to continue … this year we reached 1000 in distribution. Thank you Thrivent!

List of recipients …

Black Hill Works

Brickstone Manor

Brown County Human Services

CADA House

Elizabeth House

Fire Victims - Olivia

Haiti – hurricane relief

Iraq – interpreters

Journey Home

Kedish House

Marie Sandvik

Military Missions – to families in our area whose

     soldiers tour of duty was extended 125 days

New Orleans – Katrina relief

Numas Haus

St. Peter Treatment Center

Salvation Army Men’s Mission

Ten Thousand Villages

Union Gospel Missions

Veteran’s Home - Laverne

Veteran’s Home – St. Cloud

Veteran’s Home – Stillwater